Monks of the Screw


When Saint Patrick this order established
He called us the ‘Monks of the Screw’
Good rules, he revealed to our Abbot
To guide us in what we should do
But first he replenished our fountain
With liquor, the best in the sky
And he said on the word of a saint
That the fountain should never run dry

Each year when your octaves approach
In full chapter convened let me find you
And when to the Convent you come
Leave your favourite temptation behind you.
And be not a glass in your Convent
Unless on a festival found
And this rule to enforce, I ordain it
One festival all the year round

My brethren, be chaste till you’re tempted
While sober, be grave and discreet
And humble your bodies with fasting
As oft as you’ve nothing to eat
Yet in honour of fasting, one lean face
Among you I’d always require
If the Abbot should please, he may wear it
If not, let it come to the Prior

Come, let each take his chalice, my brethren
And with due devotion prepare
With hands and with voices uplifted
Our hymn to conclude with a prayer
May this chapter oft joyously meet
And this gladsome libation renew
To the Saint, and the Founder, and Abbot
And Prior, and Monks of the Screw


Written by John Philpot Curran (1750-1817)

The ‘Order of St. Patrick’ or ‘Monks of the Screw’ was a convivial society intended to discover and encourage the wit, humour, and intellectual power of its members.
The Convent, as it was called, or place of meeting, was in St. Kevin Street. Dublin. It was the custom for the memĀ­bers to assemble every Saturday evening during the law term. They had also another meeting-place near Rathfarnham, (Philpot Curran’s country seat) which he appropriately called ‘The Priory’, he being elected Prior. The furniture of the festive apartment in Dublin was completely monkish, and at the meetings all the members appeared in the habit of the order, a black tabinet domino. The members of the club were nearly all distinguished men, including Lord Mornington (composer of the celebrated glee “Here in Cool Grot”), the Marquis of Townshend (when Viceroy), Yelverton (afterwards Lord Avonmore), Dr. O’Leary, Grattan, Flood, George Ogle, Judge Johnson, Hussey Burgh, Lord Kilwarden, and the Earl of Arran. It lasted till 1795.

Song Clip